North Carolina Poet Laureate

The poet laureate is appointed by the Governor of North Carolina in consultation with a panel of literary professionals who represent the state’s geographical, racial and literary diversity. The laureate typically serves a two-year term, renewable at the governor’s discretion and receives a $15,000 annual stipend from the N.C. Arts Council along with staff support.

Each state poet laureate shapes the position based on his or her own strengths through a long-term project or program of special interest. However, all poets laureate share the following duties: travel across the state to engage writers and readers of all ages in schools and communities, communication with the press, and writing commemorative poems for historical or culturally important occasions.

The state’s current poet laureate is Joseph Bathanti, a Vilas resident who serves as Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, where he is also Director of Writing in the Field and Writer-in-Residence in the University’s Watauga Global Community.

To learn more, download the N.C. Poet Laureate Fact Sheet

Read more about Joseph Bathanti

Read the Poet Laureate blog


Past Poet Laureates

Read about former North Carolina poet laureates.


N.C. Poet Laureate Nomination Process

The deadline for N.C. Poet Laureate Nominations will be spring, 2014.

The North Carolina poet laureate acts as an ambassador of N.C. literature, using the office as a platform from which to promote N.C. writers and the potentially transformative qualities of poetry and the written word.

Nominations for the position will be accepted online through April 20. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.

Submit your nomination online

A selection committee will meet to review nominations and make recommendations to the governor. The governor will announce the new poet laureate.


 N.C. Poet Laureate Job Description

The North Carolina poet laureate acts as an ambassador of N.C. literature, using the office as a platform from which to promote N.C. writers and the potentially transformative qualities of poetry and the written word.

While each poet laureate shapes the position in his or her own way, duties typically include public activities with schools, community groups, and the press during the year and contact with writers and readers by mail, email and/or through a website.

He or she will have the opportunity to design a long-term project or program of special interest, using the resources of the N.C. Arts Council and other potential partners. From time to time the poet laureate may be called upon to write a poem commemorating an occasion of historic and/or cultural importance.

Selection Criteria

  • A North Carolinian with deep connections to the cultural life of this state
  • Literary excellence of the writer’s work
  • Influence on other writers
  • An appreciation of literature in its diversity throughout the state
  • Statewide, national or international reputation
  • Ability and willingness to conduct the public engagement duties of the office

Poets laureate serve two-year terms. After a public nomination period, a selection committee meets to review nominations and make recommendations to the Governor. The Governor then announces the new poet laureate. The next round of nominations will open in spring, 2014.


Poet Laureate Presentations

Joseph Bathanti is available for readings, talks on the craft of writing, writing workshops and lectures throughout North Carolina.

Letter of Interest

To request a poet laureate engagement, submit up to a one-page Letter of Interest as an e-mail attachment to Literature Director David Potorti.

Read the Guidelines for preparing a Letter of Interest here.

Program Evaluation

All sponsors of Poet Laureate engagements will complete an on-line evaluation to help us shape the Poet Laureate program and guide future public appearances.